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Paterno: Richardson Will Start Against Northwestern

October 30, 1996

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ On Penn State’s depth chart for Saturday’s game against Northwestern, the word ``or″ separates the names of Wally Richardson and Mike McQueary as the starting quarterback.

The tiny word has potentially large implications, but Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno quashed the quarterback controversy Tuesday.

``Wally Richardson’s our quarterback. Period,″ Paterno said. ``Wally has been our quarterback, and he will be our quarterback.″

McQueary relieved an ineffective Richardson and rallied No. 15 Penn State (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) over Indiana last week. After the game, Paterno said he wasn’t sure yet who would start against No. 11 Northwestern (7-1, 5-0).

``I took Wally out of the ballgame to give him a rest, and then Mike got a hot hand and I just felt I’d keep him in there,″ Paterno said.

McQueary, a junior, replaced the senior with 9:51 to play in the second quarter. Richardson completed just three of seven passes for 21 yards. McQueary promptly tossed a 57-yard TD pass to Joe Jurevicius to tie the game 10-10.

With the Nittany Lions down 20-10 at the half, McQueary led them to 31 consecutive points en route to a 48-26 win. He was 7-for-14 for 125 yards in the second half, including a 3-yard touchdown toss to Chris Eberly.

McQueary is 21-of-43 for 388 yards with three TDs and two interceptions this season. Richardson, fifth on Penn State’s career yardage list with 3,754 yards, has completed 93 of his 192 passes (48 percent) for 1,067 yards this season, with four TDs and seven interceptions.

Asked whether he would be quick to pull Richardson if he struggles again, Paterno became visibly upset.

``I have said all I’m going to say about the quarterback situation. OK? Now if you want to ask about something else, let’s go,″ he said. ``I don’t have time to get into all that stuff, the speculation. ... Wally Richardson is our quarterback. Period.″

The players said they weren’t distracted by the quarterback situation.

``Coach said that Wally is the starter and he said he gets paid the big bucks to make those decisions,″ linebacker Aaron Collins said. ``He told us not to worry about it, so we’re not.″

Center Barry Tielsch said the team still has confidence in Richardson.

``We know what he can do,″ he said. ``We’re not worried about anything at all.″

The tailback situation is a little cloudier, with Curtis Enis nursing a sore right shoulder. Enis aggravated the injury on the first series against the Hoosiers and was replaced by Chris Eberly, who carried 15 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

``Curtis is practicing. His strength is back up to normal, though we’ll be very protective of him this week,″ Paterno said. ``I think that he will be ready to go on Saturday.″

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